August 31st 2016
Lancashire fracking prospect causes stress, suspicion and fractured communities – new research
The prospect of fracking for shale gas in Lancashire has already had a profound effect on local people, according to new research.WP_20160224_160 (2)
A study by Anna Szolucha, of the University of Bergan in Norway, found that even before exploration had begun residents living near proposed sites had experienced stress and anxiety.
Much of this was caused by what she described as “a profound sense of moral outrage” at the activities of the gas company, local authorities and the government.
This had led to depression, annoyance and feelings of disenfranchisement, she said.
Residents also reported:
Atmosphere of intimidation and fear
Feelings of powerlessness
Conflicts between former friends
Disillusionment with politics and politicians
Lack of confidence in the shale gas company, Cuadrilla
Distrust of council officers and regulators
Changed perceptions of the police
The 123-page report, The Human Dimension of Shale Gas Developments in Lancashire, concluded that Cuadrilla and decision-makers in Lancashire had failed to take account of social and psychological factors when considering plans for fracking at two sites in the county. This “significantly understated” the actual and potential impacts, she said.
“From a social point of view, assessing shale gas exploration as a low-impact activity is unsupported by evidence”.
Dr Szolucha argued that